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Volunteers Wanted: What to Expect from COVID Vaccine Trials

The WHO Solidarity Trials will be prioritized.
by Joel Guinto
Sep 8, 2020
Photo/s: National Cancer Institute via Unsplash
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Participants in upcoming human trials for COVID-19 vaccines will be recruited from villages that reported the highest number of infections. The multi-nation Solidarity Trials of the World Health Organization will be prioritized, according to government guidelines.

In his weekly address to the nation late Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte said Manila would go for the least expensive option. Aside from the WHO, the Philippines' vaccine search committee has set human trials for candidate drugs from Russia, China and Taiwan.

The volunteers will be gathered from the five barangays with the highest number of infections per 1,000 population, said Sec. Fortunato Dela Peña of the Department of Science and Technology.

"Importante po ito kasi gusto nating ma-testing iyong kagalingan ng vaccine or iyong efficacy, kaya iyon ay iti-testing natin doon sa lugar na mataas ang cases ng COVID-19 (it is important that we test the efficacy of the vaccine and test in in places where COVID-19 cases are high)," he told reporters.

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WHO CAN JOIN THE TRIALS?

Human trials in the Philippines will be on Phase 3, the last step before commercial availability, officials earlier said.

The Department of Health's Epidemiology Bureau will name the barangays with the most cases. It will also manage the database for the trials, according to a resolution by the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19.

Non-permanent residents are discouraged from volunteering. If they want to, they need to show proof that they intend to stay in their barangay for the next two years, around the same time that the after-effects of the drug will be monitored, the IATF said. Should the number of participants in a barangay fail be insufficient, authorities will recruit from adjacent villages, it said.

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To ensure equal distribution of candidate vaccines, manufacturers will be assigned their respective zones. This will also avoid competition in the drafting of participants, the IATF said.

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The IATF recommended that the science and interior departments collaborate to ensure transparency in the vaccine trials. A communication plan for the trials is also being worked out, Dela Peña said.

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